Moving to the boonies: Ups, downs and in-betweens

The last few weeks have been challenging, to say the least. The numbers of Covid-19 cases have been rising again and many are in a state of panic. In the province, the concentration of the pandemic has, I will admit, been a little less severe, though being in any city right now is worrying. The contamination is more likely than if you were in a wide-open space with your neighbors a couple of kilometers away.

Not everyone can live like this, however. Living in the boondocks, as they say, which had been sort of looked down upon, is now considered by many as an alternative way of living and surviving this pandemic.

Moving out of a city, any city, is still an expensive process. Just the basic logistics of moving your family and yourself out of your house is already arduous and, frankly, extremely stressful. Doing so during the pandemic is doubly stressful — thinking about where the movers you’ve hired have come from; perhaps trying to obtain test kits for them all to ensure that you and your stuff will not be contaminated; bringing the basic necessities that you need to survive; and (at least on my part) packing up the single hardest room in the house: The kitchen.

LIVING near the mountains becomes a way of survival during pandemic. / PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF UNSPLASH/NATHANANDERSON

Moving into the boondocks, as it were, now also requires quite a deal of preparation even prior to figuring out how to do all the logistics of your existing home. Will you buy land? Will you rent out a house and lot? Will you stay with family and create a bubble? Is there even a water line that runs through where you want to move? Worse, will you be able to do a work from home situation and have internet and WiFi available in the area, especially if it is really far away? And one of the big things that always enters my mind is: Where is the nearest hospital and, God forbid, is it equipped to take on serious cases, from Covid-19 to dialysis or any other emergency services that may be needed?

LOGISTICS is a huge concern when transferring homes. / PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF UNSPLASHATOMS

Perhaps this is why a lot of people don’t do it. There are a lot of things to consider, especially if you have a family. The way that the Philippines is set up as well and the way that we need to get this piece of paper and that document to certify things, do not encourage this move. Don’t get me wrong — it is completely doable. It does take a lot of effort, though, and the decision to do it should be wholehearted as there are a lot of bumps along the way. Murphy’s Law at its finest, if you will. Gone will be the conveniences of delivery services, for example, so the thought process of just going to the grocery and buying food or even just heading over to an ATM is now more of a deliberate plan and action rather than an afterthought.


PAPERWORKS involved for transfer of residences in the Philippines discourage some people.

Is it worth it? Let us work it: if you are thinking of this in the long term, I would say do it. If you are lucky enough to have some sort of parcel of land or property you can call your own, go have it.

But try to study the little things that need to be done that may be overlooked. Remember that there are things in your life right now (and in your family’s lives, too) that are taken for granted (like when the garbage gets picked up). You will have to augment this in some way. If you are up to it, and if your family is likewise up for it, this seems to be a good plan to escape the city and what could possibly be the center of the zombie apocalypse. Just kidding.

ONE can pursue nature-filled hobbies with more spaces. / PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF UNSPLASH/CDC

But it rings true: if you are to move to the boonies here in the Philippines, make sure that you see the whole picture, the ugly of it, the pain in the ass of it, the red tape of it all, and not just extending your skills as a plantita or plantito, or see the rolling fields and mountains and beaches that could be your backyard. Our country is undeniably gorgeous, but there is always a flip side to that coin.

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